HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Charles Lindbergh completes the first successful non-stop transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.
A French hotel owner named Raymond Orteig first offered a $25,000 prize to anyone who could fly from New York to Paris in 1919. The Orteig Prize was valid for five years, but no flight was successful, so Orteig renewed the prize for another five years. Before Lindbergh, six people died trying to make it across the Atlantic in airplanes.
Lindbergh bought the specially-designed Spirit of St. Louis from Ryan aircraft in San Diego for only $10,580. Its fuselage was so full of fuel for the trip Lindbergh barely achieved enough speed for a proper takeoff. He spent much of his time during the flight battling poor visibility and storms, at times relying only on dead reckoning for navigation.
150,000 people gathered at Le Bourget field in Paris to greet Lindbergh.